Around the time spring flowers are blooming and migrating songbirds are arriving, the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation starts receiving calls concerning fox sightings in and around rural and suburban areas.
Red fox are small furbearers, typically 10 -12 lbs., about the size of a house cat. During the spring, fox seek out den sites to raise their young (kits). Sometimes, for homeowners, these den sites are not in ideal locations, including under sheds and porches.
What you can do:
- Do nothing. Enjoy watching fox kits grow up and play in your yard. They typically leave their dens by the end of June.
- Scare it away. Making loud noises near the den could convince the parents to move their young to a new den. Fox typically have more than one den and will move their young if they perceive a threat.
- Remove artificial food sources. Feed pets indoors and secure any garbage or compost stored outside.
- Exclusion. Erect a fence around your yard or block holes or areas which fox may find desirable to make a den. Make sure that the animals are not inside your yard or den before blocking them off.
Here are some facts that may debunk common fox myths:
- It is common to observe a fox in the daytime during the spring and summer. Typically, it is a healthy animal working hard to provide food for itself and young.
- Kits observed alone during the day are not necessarily abandoned. Their parents leave them in the safety of the den while they are out hunting for food, sometimes for hours at a time.
- Fox don’t almost never threaten full grown house pets or small children (unless they are rabid). Their typical diet consists of small mammals, including mice, squirrels, and rabbits.
Find an animal that appears to be sick or diseased? Email DEC’s Bureau of Wildlife at email@example.com.
Encounter an animal that may have rabies? Visit the NYS Department of Health rabies webpage.
Photo of red fox kits by Bill Glockler.